Kristen and Tyler
How We Met
It all started back in the Fall of 2012. It is hard to believe that it has now been 4 years since we first met in Lawrence at the University of Kansas, but time flies when you have something special. Although we had a few mutual friends from high school and knew briefly of each other, we never had the chance to officially meet until our Junior year of college when a group of our friends decided to get together for a night out. From then on, our relationship began to grow. We often spent time between each other’s apartments, getting to know one another and staying up late, sometimes even to 5:00 a.m.! We continued to do this for more than a couple months until we finally admitted that we were “officially” boyfriend & girlfriend. Tyler graduated from KU in the Spring of 2014 and shortly after moved back to Augusta to further his job search and eventually start his professional career. Meanwhile, Kristen remained in Lawrence to finish her final year of college. We spent every weekend traveling back and forth to see one another, although luckily, it was only a 2-hour drive. This continued for a full year until Kristen graduated in the Spring of 2015 and thereafter was offered a great opportunity to begin her career in Kansas City.
One of the more important aspects to us both was to set a solid foundation for our careers, especially in a time where it is so tough to get a foot in the door and gain experience. Even though we knew this would be a challenge, we had already overcome the distance for more than a year, and ultimately, we knew that the sacrifice would one day be worth it. It was a shot in the dark, but we were willing to take the chance because we knew deep down that we could make it work in the end. As we both settled into our new careers, we continued our commitment together on the long distance journey and often talked about our future, dreaming of the day when we could finally be together. Our goals were to someday buy a house, get a dog (or two or three in Kristen’s mind), and be a normal couple. Finally, after two long years separated by distance, the stars aligned and Tyler was offered the opportunity to further his career doing what he loves with a great company in Kansas City. In an instant, the wait was over, and what once felt like a dream became a reality. There was a weight lifted off of our shoulders as we were now able to spend Sunday nights together, and then Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and forever. The weekends that had once flown by had now become abundant.
How He Asked
The holidays are one of our very favorite times of the year, and ever since our first Christmas together, Tyler and I have maintained a tradition of ice skating under the lights at Crown Center in Kansas City. As the holiday season of 2016 approached, we looked forward to what would be our 4th trip ice skating together as a couple. A few weeks before, Tyler mentioned that we would go a little earlier this year on December 3rd in order to hopefully beat some of the crowds. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, as we thoroughly enjoy this annual tradition and have become accustomed to the routine.
But little did I know, this year would be much different. Early on in the day on Saturday, December 3rd, Tyler told me that we would need to leave the apartment by no later than 4:00 p.m. and that there were a few other things planned besides just ice skating. I had no idea what exactly this meant, and I didn’t really know what to expect. As we left the apartment, the conversation in the car turned to guesses as I wondered with no luck as to where we were headed, until finally we arrived at our destination – the downtown airport in Kansas City.
The hangar that we pulled up to had a sign that stated, “Rivers Edge Aviation Helicopter Tours” and my stomach immediately sank as I felt my heart begin to beat quicker and quicker. I had always wanted to go on a helicopter ride and I could not believe it! Shortly after we arrived, a photographer showed up and said he would be going up in the helicopter with us. As Tyler played everything off cool, I couldn’t help but freak out on the inside and thought to myself, “This is it.” We loaded up into the helicopter for what was about to be the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced.
We started by flying over downtown Kansas City, before heading further east at sunset to get a bird’s eye view of the stadiums where the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals play. As we made our way back towards downtown in the helicopter, darkness had descended upon the city and we were able to achieve a breathtaking view from the sky of the amazing holiday lights of the Country Club Plaza! After flying over several other iconic and monumental Kansas City landmarks, our helicopter ride soon came to an end. We landed at the airport and exited the helicopter, the photographer put away his camera, and we got back in our car and were quickly on our way to the Ice Terrace at Crown Center.
At this moment, I was very confused and kept thinking to myself, “If he was going to propose, then he would’ve already done it in that moment while there was a photographer and everything…” I then began to second guess myself and tried to play it off, telling myself that tonight wasn’t the night. We soon arrived at the Ice Terrace in Crown Center and jumped in line to grab our ice skates.
The ice skating rink was definitely busy, but we were able to enjoy skating for about an hour before we decided to turn in our skates. The holiday lights at Crown Center are some of the biggest and brightest in the city, and we enjoy walking through them each time after we skate before we head to dinner. As we walked through and experienced all the sights and sounds, stopping to take a few pictures along the way, it was about time to leave.
We started to walk back towards the car (or so I thought…) through a brightly lit row of trees before Tyler put his arm around me and slowed us down. We finally came to a stop as he turned to me and started to talk about our future together.
He expressed how excited he was and said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Tyler then reached his hand into his pocket and pulled out a little black box, and in this moment… I knew. It was all happening so quickly and I couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down my face. Tyler got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, and obviously, I said… “YES!”
As he came up off his knee, I hugged him and simply could not let go. Not knowing what to do next, he told me to take off my glove so that he could slide the ring onto my finger. Tyler then told me that the surprises didn’t end there… He told me to turn and look to my right, and of course, there stood the same photographer from the helicopter.
He had been standing there snapping pictures of the moment, and come to find out, had been following us around the entire evening, even when we were ice skating! Tyler said there was one more surprise and told me to turn around.
As I turned around to look behind me, I was met with even more emotion as I saw both of our families standing directly in front of us! We embraced in celebration and soaked in the moment, and I simply couldn’t believe it all. Our families had been a part of the plan the whole time! It was so special and means the world to us that they were able to be a part of one of the most exciting and memorable days of our entire lives.
What once started as a fun holiday tradition has now become ingrained in our memories as a moment that we will never forget, and every year we will be able to visit and relive that moment in time.